For those college students straddling the fence and not quite committed to jumping into the ring with an internship, you might want to consider some of these benefits.
The number one being that employers frequently tell applicants fresh out of college that the most important factor in their resume is actually their previous internship experience. That’s huge!
Your Key to Future Success
Internships are a key that opens a lot of different doors. One of the things that really impresses college students about internships are their ability to make previously abstract concepts real-world experiences.
For some this can be a completely overwhelming experience but more often than not it vindicates their passions and reasons for choosing the major that they did.
Test Your Mettle
On top of that, internships let students know that they’re really cut out for their chosen field. Internships provide the impetus to keep pushing ahead and put their classroom experience to the test.
This can be invaluable: Before an internship you might have a purely academic way of seeing the industry and the career laid out in front of you; an internship helps put everything in sharper focus and home in on aspects of the field that fit your interests and skill set.
What we mean by this is that before an internship you might just know that you’re really interested in, say, psychology. Once you go onto the internship for, say, school psychology though, you’ve really narrowed down the search; going even further, maybe a subfield within school psychology like psychometrics, achievement testing or applying behaviorist concepts in the classroom seems to be the most efficacious way for you to make your voice heard in the field.
Internships can also help light the path for you and facilitate a career that you can be proud of – as Paul McCartney once said – when you’re sixty four.
Honing Your Networking Skills
Another huge benefit of spending time on an internship is that that time forms the bedrock of a long list of future contacts. You can draw on these contacts, and expand on your networking skills in general, during an internship.
Having a litany of contacts is really important because these contacts that you’ve built through networking can absolutely be your key to future symposia and insider associations that will further help bolster your career.
On top of that, meeting a lot of people puts you in contact with another professional that can vouch for you – a.k.a., say hello to a stellar letter of recommendation.
Latch onto an All-star Mentor
An internship can even open the door to finding a perfect mentor to guide you through (and around) many of the obstacles that would plague another intern going it alone.
Mentors provide you with the peace of mind to explore this new territory without ever feeling like you’re getting lost or overwhelmed by the experience.
Acting as guides, mentors can clue you into evolving industry best practices so that, once you dip your toes into the professional day-to-day of fieldwork, you can hit the ground running and know exactly what to do.
As if that weren’t enough, mentors can give you the inside scoop on the people that you should contact to jumpstart your career and the must-see symposia and more immediate practicum experiences that you’ll need to grow.
Who knows? The right connections from a mentor or the people you associate with every day through your internship could blossom into a full-time gig with the company. You’ll definitely be prepared well enough and the timing will be perfect to take the plunge!